Go ‘Stir Crazy’ with Contigo’s Virtual Happy Hour
The East Austin restaurant is dispatching cocktail kits and turning drinkers into mixologists
By Anna Brahce
With bars in Austin shut down and restaurants operating at decreased capacity, many Austinites may be missing their pre-COVID social routines. Instead of meeting for drinks after work, the new norm is to open a beer or pour a glass of wine to sip during a Zoom call or binge-watching session. Although spending cocktail hour in front of a screen might sound less appealing, it doesn’t have to be. Contigo’s virtual happy hour combines social interaction and stellar drinks with a new twist: You get to play mixologist.
Led by Contigo Catering & Friends‘ Justin Mead, Stir Crazy is an interactive happy hour that walks you through the step-by-step process of making craft cocktails from home. You can RSVP for a scheduled class (the next one will be held on October 29) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set one up for a group. Before the scheduled happy hour, Contigo will deliver a personal cocktail kit right to your door. All you need to have on hand are a stir spoon, shaker with strainer, ice, an ounce measurer (jigger recommended but not required) and a drinking glass – preferably martini if you have one. Contigo will then send a Zoom link so you can sign on with friends and experience the fun together.
All the necessary ingredients for making Contigo’s favorite cocktails are included in the kit. The alcohol and add-ins, such as olive juice and lemon juice, are portioned out in sealed and labeled containers. Contigo Catering also provides limes and other specialty garnishes to complete the drink just like they would at their East Austin restaurant. Printed recipe cards are included so you can replicate your favorite drinks later or refer to them as a starting point for future cocktail experiments and creations.
Whether you’re an experienced bartender or a first-time drink mixer, Stir Crazy has something for everyone to learn. It can be difficult to order at a crowded bar, and busy bartenders may barely have enough time to slide you a drink before moving on to the next customer. But during this happy hour, customers get the undivided attention of an experienced drink maker who knows the craft and takes pride in the creations. Mead will happily answer questions and offer recommendations for all types of alcohol brands.
The Stir Crazy host will also share the history behind the origin of each drink, and how classics like the gin martini began and changed over time as people added their own takes and experimented with different flavor profiles. Mead may also suggest variations, like adding sweet vermouth to a dry vermouth cocktail, and note the change in taste and color. Even the method for mixing ingredients can affect how a drink will turn out. For example, when it comes to a proper smooth martini, stirring makes all the difference.
By slowing down and enjoying a “quaran-tini” with Contigo, drink lovers can take extra time to appreciate the subtleties and craft of the drinks they make and consume. Stir Crazy is a chance to shake up familiar routines and learn to embrace your creative side. That’s something we’re all doing as we adjust to new ways of life. Even when it comes to happy hour.